Cakeway to the West–Personal Favorites

Now that I’ve seen all of the “Cakeway to the West” displays, I feel that the time has come to pick my very favorites. It’s not easy to choose, because there were so many awesome artists decorating these cakes, but I have narrowed it down. The names in bold represent my “top ten” of all my favorites.

The Dogtown cake is my very favorite, for a lot of sentimental reasons. Dogtown was the neighborhood Ryan and I lived in when we were first married, and it was the perfect first place to live, as a newly married couple, and as new residents of St. Louis. There’s a great community feeling, and a great history, not to mention the awesome ethnic (Irish) flair…and this cake is like a love letter to all of that. I couldn’t have designed it better if I had tried!

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The Rigazzi’s cake is awesome, not necessarily because of the cake itself (although it references a lot of St. Louis favorites like the Zoo, beer, and baseball), but because of its location, both on The Hill, and beneath one of the remaining All-Star arches. It’s like a St. Louis tchotchkes Holy Grail!

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I also love the Blueberry Hill cake. It’s a tribute to pop culture icons…Darth Vader, Pac-Man, the Simpsons, and more. It’s random and awesome, and when you add in the bright colors of the cake, it’s easy to see why it’s a favorite!

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The cake at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in Soulard makes my list for two reasons (three if I’m being honest). First, it was done by my very favorite local artist, Mark Hurd, who I’ve had the opportunity to meet at Art on the Square (and buy several pieces of art from!). Second, I love the way that the candle is an extension of the steeple. And, if I’m honest, I also love that it’s at a Lutheran church. You can’t talk about the history of St. Louis without mentioning us Lutherans at least a bit, right?

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I also love the cake at the University City Lion Gates. I’m not sure that there’s one more recognizably St. Louis culture cake than this, because it asks (and answers!) the all-important St. Louis question, “Where did you go to high school?”

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The cake at The Cheshire is just awesome in all of its fleurs-de-lis glory. I especially love the candle, with the writing, and the extra fleur-de-lis. It’s just a beautiful, elegant cake!

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The cake at Shaw Park is fun, because it shows all of the activities that can be enjoyed there all year round…swimming, ice hockey, and tennis all included!

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The Busch Stadium cake is a favorite because Cardinals. Enough said.

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The Ted Drewes cake both captures the spirit of the place, and gives us an excuse to get some frozen custard. It’s a win-win cake!

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The Carondelet Historical Society cake is a favorite because it references so much St. Louis history, some of which was new to me. I love how much I’ve learned through the Cakeway to the West project!

IMG_4112_2The cake at Saint Louis University is all kinds of awesome. The placement is perfect. Depending on which way you’re looking, there are fountains or flowers or a gorgeous church in the background. And the cake itself is really pretty, and perfect for the location.

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The College of Pharmacy cake might seem like a strange choice, but it really tickled me. Notice how it’s designed to look like a pharmacist’s lab coat? I love it!

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The cake at the Boys and Girls Club is great for a few reasons. I love the way it’s divided right down the middle to showcase the past and the present. And I really love that one of the cakes pays homage to the long-gone St. Louis Browns baseball team. Another bonus is that I learned a little something extra about St. Louis history after seeing this one, which is probably the most fun part of this project (for me, anyway)!

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The cake at St. Louis City Hall does a great job of showing what’s important in St. Louis. Notice all the fleurs-de-lis? Each one is painted in a specific way. My favorite, of course, is the baseball fleur-de-lis!

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The Post-Dispatch cake gets points because it’s Weatherbird. Really, what else could it be? For those not in the know, Weatherbird is the oldest continuous cartoon in the United States…it’s been around since 1901! More history…

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The Drury Hotel cake is another “what’s what in St. Louis” masterpiece. You’ve got the city flag, you’ve got the skyline, and in the letters of the city’s name, you have tributes to the Arch, King Louis, Lewis and Clark, the Cardinals, the Zoo, and the Blues. Plus, more fleurs-de-lis. Love!

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The Gaslight Square cake gets retro points from me, for being placed in a historic spot. Plus this is another great past and present cake, showcasing the importance of Laclede Gas back in the days of, well, gaslights, and its importance today. The lamp bases in the background are an added bonus!

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The cake that sits where the old St Louis Arena used to be is also cool, mainly because of the ticket stubs affixed to the top. You get a good idea of who performed there, and there are some impressive names listed!

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The West Alton cake was an unanticipated favorite for me. It recognizes the major natural disasters in St. Louis history: earthquakes, storms, floods, and the terrible drought we had a few summers ago. It’s not only the pleasant events that shape a city, and I’m glad these were included.

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The cake at the original Imo’s location looked boring when we first drove up to it, but once I looked at it, I realized how cool it is. The base is pizza boxes, while the top is decorated to look like the famous “square beyond compare” pizza. Perfectly awesome!

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The Ferguson Station Depot cake is the one cake that recognizes St. Louis’ contribution to the space race. It also focuses on other forms of transportation, and is wonderfully brightly colored. Plus, there’s a great ice cream shop just up the hill from it that we discovered and enjoyed…total win!

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The Old Cathedral cake is just beautiful. Covered in flowers and other images such as King Louis and religious and local symbols, it’s beautiful and peaceful. It’s just what you would expect at the site of the first cathedral west of the Mississippi!

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The Warren County Courthouse cake is a favorite for several reasons. It’s a tribute to all four seasons, which is fun. I enjoyed seeing a snow scene on the July day we visited it. It also has the Halloween scene from Meet Me in St. Louis…a perfect tribute to a great movie!

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The Greenville Public Library cake is decorated to look like Busch Stadium. I have no idea why this cake is so far away from the Cardinals home base, but it’s completely awesome…the Rally Squirrel even makes an appearance!

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The cake at Francis Field is a tribute to the 1904 Olympics. There was just no doubt that this would be on my list…history plus Olympics for the win! It even tells what sports competed in 1904, and it’s a very different list from the Olympics games of today!

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I really tried to limit myself to 10% of the total cakes, or 25 cakes, when compiling this list. I was right on target, too. But this cake, at the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, kept coming to mind. I love all the old signs, many of which are neon, that are painted on it.

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The cake at the Shrine of St. Joseph was another that kept coming to mind. The cake is beautifully decorated, and the church is so beautiful, and I wouldn’t have even known it was there if it wasn’t for Cakeway to the West. So I’m allowing myself a second bonus cake. And since Stl250 ended up placing a few bonus cakes, I guess it’s OK that I have bonus favorites, too!

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And, one final late addition to my favorites list…the Reunion cake, which debuted at First Night on 12/31/14, and was then moved to the Missouri History Museum. It’s like a slice of all the cakes (I’m really very sorry about the pun), and was completed by many of the cake artists…the perfect way to wrap up Cakeway to the West!

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All of the Stl250 cakes are beautiful and tell great stories that share the history and culture of our city. It was really hard to narrow down my favorites, because I really love them all. These are the cream of the crop for me, though, and really define what this city is all about.

Art on the Square 2014

Today was Art on the Square day! Belleville always looks so pretty during the art fair:

This year, there were cool cut-out stands placed all around the town square. Unfortunately, most of them were too tall for the children to reach, but they still look cool on their own!

I love watching the artists that are doing demonstrations. It’s fascinating to see how intent they are, and how much they love their work!

Of course, we stopped by to see our favorite artist, Mark Hurd, and buy a small print to add to our collection. Someday, we’re going to commission him to do a piece of one of our favorite places in St. Louis.

There were two artists from Belleville’s sister city of Paderborn, Germany, doing demonstrations. I thought this was a really cool way to celebrate Belleville’s 200th birthday…it’s certainly not something they’ve done before!

There are so many different kinds of art to see. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t “get” them all, and certainly they aren’t all my taste. But, I love that we get to see it all, and talk to some of the artists. I also love that the children are getting exposed to so much different art. It’s interesting to see how their tastes have changed over the years (or stayed the same!), and what catches their eyes that we might not have noticed.

There are many reasons I love Belleville, but Art on the Square is definitely the thing Belleville does best!

Our “Artiversary”

We were very lucky this year, because Art on the Square, one of the most-anticipated annual events in our household, just happened to fall on our wedding anniversary. As always, it was a fun way to spend the morning, walking around, and looking at all of the amazing art that fills our town square!

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Even if it’s not something I would actually buy, I love looking at it all! There was jewelry:

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Sculpture:

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Ceramics:

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Glassware:

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Plus the more traditional wall art, of all kinds:

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There was also a food court:

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And a children’s area (we were there too early to actually make anything):

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Of course, we visited our favorite artist, Mark Hurd:

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And purchased a print, which matches the poster for the year that we always purchase, and have signed:

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We also saw some artists at work, including a painter:

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And a wood-carver:

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I’m already looking forward to going back next year, and seeing what new things there are to discover!

Art on the Square 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s already that time of year again, but this weekend was Belleville’s annual art show–Art on the Square. The weather was perfect for browsing the different tents–warm and sunny. There was a good crowd there already when it opened at 10 on Saturday morning, so hopefully this was another successful year for the artists in attendance!

Every year, I give the children an assignment while we’re there. For example, one year, it was finding and identifying different styles of painting. This year’s assignment  was finding one piece of art that was a favorite, and then explaining why they chose it. Bunny really liked a group of paintings of the Great Plains..she said they made her feel free and wild. Turkey really liked these sculptures, because they’re colorful and fun, and move in the wind.

As always, I loved looking at all of the different styles and kinds of art at the show. It seems that all kinds of art are represented, from photography to paintings, sculptures to jewelry, pottery to wood carvings. Even when something doesn’t reflect my personal taste, I can still appreciate the talent and effort it takes to make it–especially since I’m not gifted in the art department!

We got to see a few different artists at work, demonstrating their skills.

The children enjoyed the children’s art area, and they had a fun time adding their personal stamp to the giant mural that was set up.

This year, we even bought a few prints from my favorite artist, local photographer Mark Hurd!

Art on the Square

It’s that time of year again–Art on the Square has returned to Belleville, IL!

Art on the Square is the thing Belleville does best every year. On more than one occasion, it’s been named the best Art Fair in the nation–and these accolades coming even with Art on the Square only celebrating its 10th anniversary!

There are always artists to watch and talk to, even on a miserably rainy day like today:

There are favorite booths we look forward to seeing every year, such as this one belonging to photographer John Hartung:

And new favorites like photographer John Scanlan, who had beautiful pictures of various European locations:

The booths containing space and weather photography, (by Scott Johnson and David Mayhew, respectively), also had some beautiful things (can you tell I really like the photographers best?):

We also enjoy seeing local artists, such as Mark Hurd of St. Louis. He had some really awesome prints, including one of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard:

We always look forward to seeking out the creator of the year’s fair poster, in order to get our copy signed. This time, the artist, (who works with watercolors), was Gordon France, and his booth was quite popular:

Of course, there are always booths that are simply fun to look at, like these sculptures by Marina Lee:

And these, by Kevin Trobaugh, proclaimed to be “beautiful,” by Moose (some of them move in the wind):

Art on the Square also boasts a nice children’s area, with hands-on activities, as well as performers to watch. We didn’t get to participate in a lot of the activities, some of which included decorating a mini flower-pot and planting Black-eyed Susan seeds, sand art, and paper hat making, (probably for the best–they would have disintegrated in the rain!), but the children did get to plant some bean seeds and color some pictures. They also enjoyed all of the whimsical decorations adorning the children’s corner!

Saturday morning’s crowd was much smaller than usual, because of the weather, I’m certain. Still, there was a dedicated group of art lovers, umbrellas in hand, enjoying the walk around the square, viewing all of the different types of art, as well as the various food tents and musical performers.

This is definitely one of our family’s favorite traditions–someday, we may even be able to buy something there!